Do you ever get the vague creeping feeling that you are the only one in the world who has any semblance of civility and/or common sense? There is just “crazy” all around us; society is doing its best to deconstruct and/or destroy the family, our own country has aborted over 50 million innocent babies, the government is moving toward making abortion and birth-control a mandatory part of health care using, you guessed it, your tax dollars, having a baby out of wedlock is regarded as no more serious than going out for ice cream and Supreme Court justices call the President a liar to his face in as public setting! Yikes! Surely the world has gone stark raving mad and there are only a few sane people left.
I know other people who have the same feeling and most of us agree that, in the world, we are a tiny minority. So, maybe that’s true and we are a small slice of the society at large while most members of our society think what we have going on is the ultimate in “personal freedom” and see no reason to change. That might qualify us to be members of a small but significant group. If you sew or know anything about textiles or fabric you might have heard this term: “remnant”. In the textile world when you have a one of a kind piece of material left over it is called “a remnant”. The remnant is often a piece that cannot be duplicated and was once part of a larger, more abundant sample. As society and culture continue to spin out of control and I stand back with some of my other faithful friends saying; this is not right or this is too crazy, I feel like we are that tiny sample, the left- overs who do not resemble the others.
So the question then becomes: “Is this concept of being set apart from the mainstream a good thing or a bad thing?” One need only to look at Jesus in order to make a decision on this question. In his time on earth Jesus was definitely out of the mainstream. He said and did things that “polite society” would never think of doing, such as speaking to women and dining with the tax collector. Jesus centered his ministry in all of the places of society where people knew that they needed him. Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the current preacher to the Papal house hold tells us this; “The difficulty for us arises from thinking of the categories of merit and virtue [value to society] when the category of faith should be used instead. God is not induced to act on behalf of the poor because of their merits or their moral dispositions but because of their greater readiness to believe. God does not value what the poor have but what they do not have: self-sufficiency, a closed attitude, as presumption of being able to save themselves.” (As quoted in Magnificat, Vol.13, No.7, September 2011, p.97) So then, to view one’s self as a person who is not “in sync” with the society’s norms is most likely not a bad thing in the spiritual way of looking at things.
Scripture even has a commentary about the group that is left behind and does not embrace the values that they see all around them: “But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord.” (Zeph 3:12) After the destruction of the first temple “the remnant” was the group who kept the flame burning. These were the ones who were left over, they knew that they had to acknowledge the Lord and maintain the goodness of a devotion to Him even if no one else did. This was during the time when it was all falling apart and the Israelites had no clue about how their faith would continue without a place to sacrifice and worship. So a “remnant” is not necessarily a bad thing. We are meant to be the contradiction to society that makes people stop and think. It does not matter that we are not the majority. So if you are a believer what is your impact on the people and situations around you?
We are all members of “The Remnant”. We are the people who clearly understand the new attitude and new values that our society is forming are pressing toward eliminating the Lord from the public square. We clearly understand what a danger that is and what that can create for the future. We are the ones who frequently hear: “You just don’t GET it.” We are set apart, left over from another time and way of thinking. That is not necessarily a bad thing. If you know that you are one of “those” people who just do not think the same way that those around you do, you have one thing to do……..rejoice! You have a job just like the group identified in the Zephaniah reading. Take your responsibility seriously. Take refuge in the Lord. Step up your prayer time for the world and our culture. Become an active voice for the Lord when people tell you how rotten it all is and how the world is falling apart. Adverse times have a way of changing our focus. “God draws some men to him by means of joy and others by means of sorrow.” (Fr. John Tauler, O.P. † 1361 Mystical Theologian) As a member of The Remnant, give your wisdom freely to anyone who needs it and stand firm in your beliefs as a witness that the current thinking in the world isn’t really a solution for the sadness we see all around us. Not unlike the Remnant of the Israelites we are a small but mighty group!
Copyright © 2011, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved
See more of Kathryn’s work at www.atravelersview.org
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